What constitutes a "good" or "genuine" reason to change preference in school admissions process?(6 Posts)
Hi, I wonder if anyone can help? I wanted to change my preference after the deadline for admission. The LA didn't advise me correctly and the LGO is now investigating. I think the LGO will agree we were given the wrong advice by the LA about procedure but the issue will be whether we had a "good" reason to change preference. Does anybody know what a "good" reason is, apart from moving house? The LA info says can only change preference when they agree there is a good reason for doing so, there is a separate section about moving house so there must be other reasons that can be considered. Also, what is meant by a "genuine" reason in the admissions code? Is working with members of public which may cause conflict with parents/pupils at the school a good enough reason? Anyone with similar experience? Thanks
This is undefined in the Admissions Code as it is meant to be approached on a case by case basis. There are so many possible situations that it would be impossible to lay down rules for all of them.
Clearly simply changing your mind about which school you prefer is not a genuine reason for altering your preferences. On the other hand moving home clearly is a genuine reason as that is the example given in the Code.
My own view regarding the reason you have put forward is that it depends. If you are a social worker who needs to avoid clients, for example, I would say that is probably a genuine reason. However, if you work in a shop, have fallen out with a customer and want to avoid meeting them in the playground, that probably isn't a genuine reason.
Thanks. We are in a similar situation to the social worker scenario. Is there anything you are aware of that I can put forward to back up our argument? Thanks for your help.
At the end of the day it is up to the LA to define what they decide are good reasons for a change. I am not aware of it being detailed any where to do with the admission code.
Your problem in dealing with the LGO is that you are asking whether it was reasonable for the LA to agree to your request. The LGO will have to go by the legal definition of reasonable as applied to admission arrangements and this has been legally defined as a perverse decision. My reading would be that this was a poor decision by the LA but not a perverse decision.
Most LAs and appeal panels are very clear that they will give whatever latitude they can to situations such as you are involved in, police, social services, EWO etc as they accept it is a difficult area that is not covered by admission criteria for schools. Obviously for reasons that are not clear your LA did not feel such latitude was appropriate.
Did you go to appeal over this?
Yes. It was an ICS appeal that failed. The LA didn't give us the opportunity to properly seek a change in preference, they basically told us it wasn't possible and gave no consideration to reasons, and the panel didn't accept that they had advised us incorrectly. I have spoken to the LGO and think they agree that we were given the wrong advice but have said that the difficulty is whether our reasons would have been good enough to allow a change anyway.
In other words the LGO are agreeing that the LA decision was a poor decision but a reasonable one in the circumstances (under the legal definition)!
Under normal circumstances a change after the deadline would have then meant that you were classed as a late application, which would presumably have had the same end product, no place because the school was oversubscribed with on time applicants.
Without knowing a lot more detail of your case I don't think that I can comment further about whether the appeal panel acted correctly. Given that it was ICS Regs they would have had to find that the admission process was flawed and that if the admission arrangements had been properly implemented you would have been given a place to have found in your favour.
Please send me a private post if you want to explain further but it does seem from your posts as though the LGO are moving towards a decision that you were not disadvantaged.
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